IN this chapter I desire to present the conclusions which I have reached, on the basis of the thoughts presented in the foregoing chapters, in reference to the Christian’s privilege in respect to miraculous healing and strengthening. In doing this, in view of the difficulty of the subject, I shall not dogmatize. I shall abstain, therefore, from seeking to lay down rules for any person. The most that I shall do will be to state the spiritual principles, in reference to the body, which have governed and do govern my own life. As to whether or not these represent the teaching of God’s inspired Word and thus are to be adopted and followed, the reader must be the judge. The following, then, are my personal views:
Christ’s atoning work, His resurrection, His ascension and His pouring forth of the Holy Spirit brought to the church on earth great and wonderful privileges.
One of the results of Christ’s redemption and intercession is to bring the saint into intimate relationship with Himself, which may include, so far as the saint’s consciousness is concerned, a life of constant obedience and uninterrupted communion.
As a consequence of this intimate relationship and fellowship, the Lord is to be recognized as having the right-of-way over the life of the saint, so that He may do what He wills with him—as in the cases of the apostles—whether this be for physical weal or woe.
Christ will always remain sovereign in His dealings with His saint, not ruthlessly but lovingly and tenderly, with His glory and the fulfillment of His purposes in view, and also, the best interests of His child, and this for time and eternity.
Christ will choose health, strength and length of days for some of His saints; He will choose the opposite for others of them. Also, He may choose opposite experiences for the same saint at different times.
When a saint is well, it is his bounden duty, being a bond-slave of Christ, to use all of his physical, mental and spiritual powers for the praise and glory of his Saviour and Lord.
When a saint is sick, the same obligation, within the limit of his strength, is upon him; and he has the additional obligation, in order to test and discover God’s will concerning him, of seeking to re-obtain the health which he has lost.
The saint, in doing this last, has three possible courses divinely set before him; first, he may seek healing through a physician and his treatment; or second, without a physician and his ministry, but through rest and change of scene and occupation; or third, without a physician and without rest and change, and through God alone.
It is to be recognized that all of the three kinds of healing referred to are divine healings, God alone being the creator, maintainer and healer of the body. It is to be further recognized that the last named kind of healing—which is properly miraculous healing—is no more divine than the two healings first named, all being of God and all manifesting Him, the only difference between miraculous healing and healing through means being this, that miraculous healing more fully demonstrates the divine presence and power.
Miraculous healing may be tested and discovered by applying to each supposed case the New Testament conditions of such, where the healings were always immediate, complete and final. If these conditions do not pertain to a given case of healing, then it is divine healing, but it is not miraculous healing.
In seeking for healing the saint is to have regard to the nature of the disease with which he is afflicted. If this is entirely within the scope of man’s ability to give aid, it— apart from special guidance to the contrary—would be un-lawful to set aside what God has graciously provided, and hence, recourse is to be had to a physician. If it does not call for medical assistance, and rest and change will be sufficient, then again it would be unlawful to set aside these divinely appointed means, and restoration is to be sought by rest at home, exercise outside, going to the mountains or seaside, etc. If it is of such a nature that means of any sort and all sorts are valueless, then God may be appealed to in the hope and confidence that He may do what man and natural processes have failed to do and cannot do. In all three of these methods, prayer and faith are to be exercised, as, whether means are or are not used, it is God alone who heals.
In the case of a saint meeting with accident and needing immediate physical attention, it is right that friends at hand should give first-aid treatment and that a surgeon should be sent for, since God has given to friends and surgeons the skill to use in such emergencies. But in case the treatment given fails, again appeal may be made to God to do what man cannot do.
God, judging from the Scripture and experience, may possibly put forth miraculous power and heal apart from means under the following circumstances: first, when, from the beginning, the disease is of such a nature as to make all known means valueless; second, when it is impossible—as sometimes occurs upon the mission field—to secure medical aid; third, when medical men have attempted to bring healing to pass and have failed to do so; fourth, where a servant of God has a divinely appointed task set before him which some ailment hinders his fulfilling, where this task must im-mediately be performed and where there is neither time nor opportunity to have recourse to usual means; fifth, where a missionary is labouring in unevangelized parts and the Bible, because uncirculated and unknown, cannot be appealed to, and where a miracle is needed to prove God’s existence and the missionary’s divine appointment; and lastly, where God indicates, whether at home or abroad, that there is need of giving a new demonstration of His presence and power in proof that He is the living and loving Father in heaven.
The saint is to remember, in all the foregoing conditions, that God is the judge as to whether or not He will display Himself and His power by a miraculous act, and also when, where, how, and with whom this will be done; and he is to keep constantly in mind that God is just as faithful and loving when He does not so display Himself as when He does.
The saint is ever to remain submissive to God’s will, what-ever this may mean. But also, he is to be assured that he has a Father in heaven, that He is very pitiful and of tender mercy, that He will not willingly afflict, and that He is more willing to give good gifts to His children than earthly parents are to theirs.
The Christian, for these reasons, while not going back to Old Testament positions and not attempting to appropriate Jewish or even apostolic promises, may understand that God, at times, will be pleased to respond to faith and prayer, to put forth His miraculous power, and to heal disease, especially such as is otherwise incurable.
It is, therefore, the Christian’s right, particularly if human help has failed and a physical crisis has come, to offer prayer and exercise faith, and thus to give God the opportunity to prove Himself to be the faithful Creator and the Lord of the body.
It is sometimes God’s choice, when He has called one to a special service, to keep that one, in general, from sickness and maintain him in health and strength, and hence, it is the privilege of such a saint, until his task has been accomplished, to look to God for the continual renewing of his physical life. But even such a saint as this is to look forward—the Lord tarrying—to the inevitable end of sickness and death, and be prepared, at last, to welcome such without misunderstanding his heavenly Father and hence in a spirit of faith, joy and praise.